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What types of product defects incur liability?

When you purchase a product, there is generally an expectation that, provided you take the appropriate precautions and use it as directed, it is safe. Unfortunately, however, numerous people in Texas and elsewhere suffer injuries each year due to using dangerous or defective products. In some circumstances, the manufacturers or sellers of these items may be held financially responsible for the injuries they incur.

According to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, product manufacturers or sellers may be held liable for three types of product defects that cause injury to consumers. These are design defects, manufacturing defects and defects in marketing.

Design defects are those that are inherent in a product. For example, a bookshelf may be designed with uneven legs for aesthetic purposes. However, this may cause the shelf unit to be unstable and, therefore, unsafe.

While design defects exist in all or many products of the same type, manufacturing defects may affect only a small number. These unintended defects occur during the production, construction or assembly processes. They result when a product does not line up with its intended design and, as a result, is more dangerous than expected.

Sometimes, even well-designed and properly built products may be dangerous. When the manufacturers or sellers know about such potential hazards, they have a responsibility to inform consumers. For example, the makers of kitchen torches include directions for the safe use of these products, as well as a warning about the potential fire risk they present. Failure on the part of product manufacturers or sellers to provide adequate safety warnings, sufficient instructions and appropriate labeling may be considered a marketing defect.

The information contained in this post is intended for general purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

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